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Federal Pacific Panels


When it comes to owning a home, making sure that the electrical system is up to date and functioning properly is of utmost importance. Not only can faulty electrical wiring and panels cause inconvenience, but it can also be a serious safety hazard. For homeowners in North Providence, Rhode Island, this means finding a reliable and knowledgeable electrician to handle all electrical repairs and installations. Luckily, B&K Electric, a family-owned and operated electrical business based in Warwick, RI, has been proudly serving the residents of Cranston, Warwick, and all of Rhode Island for over seventeen years. We specialize in electrical repair, panel maintenance, and installation, making us the go-to electrician for homeowners in the Warwick area and the greater Providence area.

But what exactly is a federal pacific panel and why is it important for homeowners to know about them? In this article, we will delve into the history of federal pacific panels, their potential dangers, and why it is important for homeowners in North Providence (zip code 02904) to get them inspected by a licensed electrician. We will also provide some tips on how to properly maintain and replace these panels.

What are Federal Pacific Panels?

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) was a popular manufacturer of electrical panels in the mid to late 20th century. In the 1950s and 1960s, federal pacific panels were installed in millions of homes across the United States. These panels were designed to distribute electricity throughout the home, powering lights and appliances.

At the time, federal pacific panels were seen as a reliable and affordable option for homeowners. However, in the 1980s, it was discovered that these panels had a major flaw – they did not properly trip (shut off) during an overload or short-circuit. This meant that the panel would continue to supply power, potentially causing a fire or electrocution. This flaw led to a recall of FPE panels in 1983, and they were eventually shut down in 1989.

Why are Federal Pacific Panels Dangerous?

According to a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), federal pacific panels have a failure rate of up to 30%. This means that out of 100 panels, 30 of them are prone to malfunctions that can lead to electrical fires. This is a much higher rate compared to other panels that have a failure rate of less than 1%.

One of the main reasons why federal pacific panels are dangerous is due to their design. They contain a single, spring-loaded stab-lock connection that connects the circuit breaker to the bus bar (the strip that distributes electricity). This design can cause inconsistency in the connections, leading to arcing and overheating, which can result in a fire.

The other major issue with federal pacific panels is that they do not properly disconnect power during short circuits or overloads. This means that when a circuit becomes overloaded, instead of tripping and shutting off the power, the panel continues to supply electricity, increasing the risk of a fire.

For homeowners in North Providence, Rhode Island, where the average age of homes is 74 years, it is crucial to have these panels inspected by a licensed electrician. Many older homes in the area may still have federal pacific panels, putting them at a higher risk of electrical hazards.

How to Spot a Federal Pacific Panel

If you are unsure whether your home has a federal pacific panel, there are a few signs to look out for. First, locate your electrical panel (also known as a breaker box or fuse box). If it is a federal pacific panel, it will likely have the company’s name, Federal Pacific Electric, or FPE written on it.

Another way to identify a federal pacific panel is by looking at the circuit breakers inside. They will have the words “federal pacific electric” or “stab-lok” written on them. The breakers themselves may also have a red stripe.

It is important to note that some federal pacific panels may have been replaced with other brands, which is why it is crucial to have the panel inspected by a licensed electrician.

What to Do if You Have a Federal Pacific Panel

If you have a federal pacific panel in your home, the first step is to have it inspected by a licensed electrician. They will be able to determine if the panel is functioning properly and if it needs to be replaced.

In most cases, replacing a federal pacific panel is the best course of action. This will not only ensure the safety of your family and home but also increase the value of your property. It is important to have a licensed electrician handle the replacement, as it can be a complex and dangerous task.

It is also important to note that even if your federal pacific panel has not shown any signs of malfunction, it is still recommended to replace it. The risk of fire or electrical hazards is too great to ignore.

Tips for Maintaining and Replacing Your Federal Pacific Panel

1. Regular Inspections

Regular inspections by a licensed electrician are crucial to ensure the safety of your home. They will be able to spot any signs of malfunction or wear and tear on the panel and address it before it becomes a bigger issue.

2. Don’t Overload Circuits

To prevent overloads and potential fires, make sure not to overload circuits in your home. This includes not using multiple high-power appliances on the same circuit.

3. Plan for Replacement

If you are purchasing a new home or have an older home with a federal pacific panel, it is important to plan for its replacement. This will not only ensure the safety of your home but also save you from any potential future issues.

4. Hire a Licensed Electrician

When it comes to replacing a federal pacific panel, it is crucial to hire a licensed electrician. Attempting to replace it yourself can be dangerous and lead to further complications.

Trust B&K Electric for Your Electrical Needs

At B&K Electric, we understand the importance of a safe and functional electrical system in your home. As a family-owned and operated business, we prioritize the safety and satisfaction of our customers. Our electricians are highly trained and experienced, ensuring that all electrical installations and repairs are done efficiently and to the highest standards.

If you are a homeowner in North Providence, Rhode Island, or the surrounding areas (zip code 02904), do not hesitate to contact us for all your electrical needs. Our team of experts is ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have about federal pacific panels and ensuring the safety of your home.


Federal Pacific Panels,

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